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Cameras in Daycare Facilities

Family Safety Expert Advice from Gavin de Becker

Q: I recently heard of a company called Parent Watch. It wires daycare centers with Web cameras and allows parents to observe their children's daycare center. I was wondering if you had heard of this and what other companies are doing something similar. Do parents like this? Is there anything they should be concerned about?

A: This is a use of cameras that I fully endorse. More than a hundred childcare facilities nationwide now have Internet-wired camera systems that allow parents to ''look in'' at any time. While it's no substitute for an actual visit, it does add a lot more scrutiny than would otherwise be available. At Kids 'R' Kids in Marietta, Georgia, for example, parents pay $10 a month to be able to view password-protected images from sixteen cameras. Aside from gaining peace of mind and a greater feeling of connection to their kid's experience, parents can share the password with friends and family who rarely get a chance to visit. Employees at such facilities know that they can be viewed at any time, meaning the children are not the only witnesses to what goes on.

All the parents whose kids attend a daycare facility can join together in asking for installation of such a system. The parents may even choose to share in the cost of the installation. If so, it gets very hard for a daycare business to say no.

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Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the leading U.S. expert on the prediction and management of violence. His work has earned him three Presidential appointments and a position on a congressional committee. He is currently co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy.


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